The Montrose Pass is a short tarred pass on the N4 approximately midway beween Ngodwana and Nelspruit. The highlight of the pass is a stop at the Montrose Falls where there is a small hotel and where you can see the Crocodile River plunging over a solid rock sill. The pass only rises 61m over a distance of 3,74 km producing an average gradient of an easy 1:61, but there are steeper sections at 1:10 just before and after the summit.
Mount Carmel pass is a 13,4 km long gravel road descending 310 vertical meters through the Mount Carmel range of the Drakensberg. It is located about 25 km north-west of Nelspruit on the D1054. The road connects several farms around Schagen and is mainly used by farmers and forestry vehicles. The road is in fair condition and is suitable for all vehicles.This pass traverses the beautiful valley through the Mount Carmel Conservancy. It loses 310 metres of altitude producing an easy average gradient of 1:43 with the steepest sections being at 1:10. As the case for most gravel roads, we issue the usual 'slippery when wet' cautionary.
The Mpgani Pass is also known as the 'Old Nelspruit-Kaapmuiden Road' as it connects these two towns. Together with it's sister pass (the ascending Bouldersberg Pass) they form the bulk of this traverse across the mountains. The road traverses Crocodle Poort Nature Reserve and is controlled by two booms where you have to sign in and out. Watch out for wild animals, especially at night.
This beautifully scenic 12 km long tarred pass on the R38 connects Barberton in the east with Badplaas in the west. It is a steep pass with a 405m altitude gain to summit at 1544m ASL. This pass is also known as the Nelsberg Pass. The pass has an average gradient of 1:20 with the steepest parts being at 1:7. Most of the pass traverses the Nelshoogte State Forest offering peaceful views of dense pine forests which open up from time to time to reveal hazy views out over lakes and valleys.
This pass bisects the wide Schoemans Poort on the R539 between eNtokozweni (Machadodorp) and Montrose, which lies 35km to the east. It is located approximately 12km south-east of the Kwena Dam (previously known as the Braam Raubenheimer Dam). It descends a substantial 196 meters over 5.2 km producing an average gradient of 1:26 with the steepest parts being at 1:8. It is a fairly straight-forward pass with no obvious dangers. Other than a few gentle S-bends near the summit, the road is virtually dead straight for 80% of it's length.
This minor pass is located on the tarred R38 close to the N4 junction at the eastern end of the Krokodilpoort. It connects Louw's Creek in the south with Kaapmuiden in the north. The pass is basically a straight road cutting through a small neck through the hills and is only 3,11 km in length with an altitude gain of just 57m - it produces an average gradient of 1:20. This is a pass that if you dont know about it, you probably wouldn't even notice it. However, what it lacks in technical drama, it more than makes up for in terms of scenery. This is, after all, the lowveld and the land of the Kruger. It's just a few kilometres to the Malelane Gate.
This long tarred pass offers diverse scenery through an area steeped in history and of course, stories of robbers of those who found gold in the area. There is the famous Robbers Grave which can be visited near the pass at Pilgrims Rest - a village inextricably linked to the pioneering days of the discovery of gold. Once a flourishing town, it is today a small village offering tourists a glimpse into a bygone era. Pilgrims Rest and the aptly named Robbers Pass are historically bound like a set of twins.
A steep, gravel pass that connects the Wakkerstroom/Luneburg road (P437) in the south with the tarred R543 in the north. It straddles the border between KZN and Mpumalanga, but the steepest part is in Mpumalanga, so we have indexed it under that province. The pass rises fairly gently from the southern side to summit at 1766m offering wonderful views to the north and south. The altitude loss on the northern descent is 230m and some of the gradients are as steep as 1:5. This road is best driven in a high clearance vehicle and needless to say, it will be very slippery when wet.
Located in the north-west mountainous region of Mpumalanga, this long gravel pass that runs on the north/south axis along the western side of the Steenkampsberg mountain, and offers a slower alternative to the much busier R37. This road in its entirety is more commonly known as the Beetgeskraal Road. The pass is 15,5 km long and descends 421m producing an average gradient of 1:36 with the steepest sections being at 1:8. The pass provides beautiful scenery of rivers, valleys and mountains.
The Saddleback Pass is located to the south-east of Barberton and forms part of the R40 which connects with the border post at Bulembo, Swaziland. The pass is tarred and in fair condition with obvious signs of maintenance in a state of ongoing progress. There were however some signs of potholes appearing, but these were not many. It climbs 609 meters in altitude over 10,4 km producing an average gradient of 1:17 - This will put it amongst our upper end list of steepest passes in our Extreme Passes listing.
It is as well that it is tarred, as this road would have been something of a nightmare in wet weather, when it was still gravel. Beyond the summit and Lomati Dam, the tar continues and gets a name change - The Bulembu Pass.
Mountain Passes South Africa is a website dedicated to the research, documentation, photographing and filming of the mountain passes of South Africa.
Passes are classified according to provinces and feature a text description, Fact File including GPS data, a fully interactive dual-view map and a narrated YouTube video.
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